5 Ways to Help Your Husband Draw Closer to God

Because I’m a pastor’s wife and have been married for almost forty years, women occasionally ask me questions like:

  • How can I encourage my husband to lead our family spiritually?
  • How can I motivate my husband to read his Bible/pray with me/lead family devotions/serve in the church?

You’ve probably heard the saying, “See one, do one, teach one.” I’ve heard it spoken often in the medical world, which is more than slightly terrifying. (If you ever have to have your gallbladder taken out, be sure to ask your doctor how many surgeries he’s performed.) 

When women ask me for spiritual or relational advice, I feel like they’re asking someone who has seen one, done one, and is now being asked to teach one.

This is especially true in matters of the marriage relationship. Most of us want our husbands to be the spiritual leaders in our home—to read the Bible with us, pray with us and for us, and guide our children in the ways of the Lord. 

Sadly, few Christian men do this. Even fewer do it well. In many Christian homes the woman is more spiritually mature than the man. She reads and studies her Bible, initiates family devotions, and leads in prayer. 

If this describes your situation, take heart. God is at work in your family. He can and will use you to influence them for Christ. You are not alone.

I wish I could give you three steps to transform your husband into a dynamic spiritual leader who will shepherd his family well, love you as Christ loves the church, and impact God’s kingdom. 

I can’t.

But I can give you five suggestions to help you come alongside God as He works in and through your husband.

Five Suggestions to Help Your Husband Draw Closer to God

1. Pray.

Prayer is one of the most neglected tools in a Christian woman’s arsenal. We fret over our husband’s lack of spiritual initiative or nag him about his lack of spiritual leadership. We compare, criticize, and complain. But we seldom pray.

When you bring the deepest desires of your heart to God and surrender them to Him, you transfer the burden of change from your shoulders to God’s. God alone has the power to transform your husband, and He’s quite capable of doing so—in His timing. Instead of criticizing, pray God’s blessings on your husband. Ask God to draw him closer, reveal Himself, and make him hungry for spiritual things. Pray Scripture over him. One of my favorite prayer guides to help me intercede on my husband’s behalf is the Revive Our Hearts 30-Day Praying for Your Husband Challenge. Print it out, place it in your Bible, and use it every day.

2. Cultivate your own relationship with God.

When we see a lack of spiritual interest in our husbands, we sometimes grow discouraged or slack in our own spiritual disciplines. If he doesn’t care about Bible reading and prayer, why should I? Don’t fall into this trap. Much more is caught than taught, as the old adage says.

When you spend time in prayer and Bible reading every day, you declare, without saying a word, that spending time with God is both important and delightful. Biblical wisdom will permeate your heart and naturally flow out of you. Don’t hesitate to share what you’re learning with your husband but don’t do it in a preachy way. Use winsome words that will make spending time in the Bible enticing. 

3. Look for creative ways to connect with God together.

For years I longed for my husband and me to have a devotional time together. Deep down I think he did too. We knew Christian couples were supposed to connect spiritually, we just couldn’t figure out how to make it happen. I bought every couples’ devotional book on the market.

One morning as I was praying God gave me an idea. I shared it with David the next day. “This new devotional book looks fantastic. I’d love for us to read it together. If I get up with you in the mornings and fix a little breakfast, would it be okay if I read it aloud while you ate? That way it wouldn’t take any extra time.”

To my delight he said yes. (I don’t know if it was the offer of breakfast or the desire to connect spiritually that made my offer appealing, but I didn’t care.) After years of trying we finally arrived at something that worked. Your “something” may look different from ours. Ask God for creative ideas for how to connect.

4. Ask your husband how you can pray for him, and ask him to pray for you.

One day several weeks into our devotional time I asked, “How may I pray for you today?”

David thought a moment, then told me about a challenging situation with a coworker. I prayed a brief prayer, then said, “I’d love for you to pray for me as I teach the girls. This math curriculum just isn’t working for us.” 

From there on, after we read the day’s devotion we asked each other, “How may I pray for you today?” David was reluctant to pray aloud, so sometimes we’d just swap prayer requests. Other times we’d pray a simple sentence prayer.

You don’t have to wait until you have a consistent devotional time to ask him how you can pray for him. Do it as he’s preparing to leave for work in the morning or as you lie next to each other at bedtime. Then pray a simple (short) prayer aloud. Praying for one another knits your hearts together and grows your love.

5. Trust God’s timing.

It took us ten or fifteen years to arrive at a routine that worked for us. Some couples don’t experience the joy of a shared devotional time until their empty nest or retirement years. Others never reach this point. 

Regardless of where you are, don’t despair. God knows the desires of your heart. He knows your husband’s heart too. Jesus said His Father is always at work (John 5:17), so you can trust Him to accomplish His good purposes in and through your family.

If we truly trust God, we’ll pray instead of fretting or nagging. We’ll cultivate our own relationship with God and look for creative ways to connect with Him together. And we’ll show love to our husband by praying for him. As we lay our requests before God, we’ll wait in hope and trust, knowing that He who began a good work in us (and our husbands) will be faithful to complete it (Phil. 1:6).

Twenty Years Later

Last March, in a serendipitous wink from God, Our Daily Bread Publishing asked David and me if we’d be willing to write a couples’ devotional. 

“No way,” I said. “Our marriage is still too imperfect. We’re not qualified.” 

David had a different opinion. “We’ve been so blessed by the devotionals others have written. We don’t have to be perfect to have something useful to share. If God can use our experiences to help other couples grow closer to God and to each other, how can we say no?”

How, indeed?

Earlier this month David and I sat across the breakfast table and turned to the first devotion in our little book, Moments with God for Couples: 100 Devotions for Drawing Closer to God and Each Other. When we finished the short reading we held hands, bowed our heads, and thanked God for the good work He began in us so many years ago. Then we prayed for other couples just like us who want to connect with God but just aren’t sure how. We thanked Him in advance for the good work He has planned for them.

Want to begin praying together as a couple but don’t quite know how to start or what to say? God has provided the perfect template to enter into conversation with Him: His Word. Praying God’s Word back to Him ensures that you’ll find words for every season of prayer, and Revive Our Hearts is here to help with a beautiful new book, Finding the Words to Pray: 50 Scriptures to Guide Your Prayers. This lovely volume includes fifty prayers from Scripture, space to write out your own responses, and a selection of timeless, truth-saturated prayers from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. 

Be sure to request your copy when you give a gift of any amount to the ministry this month. 

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